Scope bids to end ‘innocent ignorance’ around disability

Scope is launching a marketing campaign that aims to guide the public through situations with disabled people where they may feel uncomfortable after research by the charity found that the majority of people don’t know how to act around disabled people.

The ‘End the Awkward” TV spots, created by Grey London and launching on Sunday (11 May), are fronted by comedian and TV presenter Alex Brooker. It puts him in the middle of a series of situations to offer advice on subjects including “how to shake a hand that isn’t there” at a job interview or what to do when you’ve “bent down to speak to a wheelchair user”.

The campaign follows the appointment of Mark Atkinson as Scope’s permanent marketing boss last year to build on the success of the Paralympics in 2012 in changing attitudes towards disabled people. Despite that, new research from the charity found that more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of people surveyed are not comfortable talking about disability in front of a disabled person, with many worrying they might say the wrong thing or cause offense by mistake.

Richard Hawkes, CEO at Scope, says: “We wanted to raise this issue in a light-hearted way, because it isn’t about pointing fingers. Not enough people know a disabled person, or know enough about disability. This can mean people worry about saying or doing the wrong thing and feel awkward. But it can also have a serious side.
“In 2014 disabled people face many challenges. Many disabled people continue to face negative attitudes, in the street, on public transport, at work. We’ve launched this campaign to get us all thinking about what we can do to include disabled people more in our lives.”

The TV campaign is supported by online activity, including tips, guides and videos.

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